tv Capital News Today CSPAN February 22, 2013 11:00pm-2:00am EST
thought, that is a decision between your life and living your life outside of your country and being castigated. >> guest: that's right. that is what i had to really think through. >> host: and your father was a military man. >> guest: he was an officer in the army reserve and had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, so for him the military had offered opportunity. he had been mired in a depression and gets drafted and because the military beaded black officers and the draftees, he is able to go to officer training school and has opportunities within the military that he never had in civilian life. >> host: it would not have been the same for you. >> guest: i thought about that actually. i was a nominee to the west
point. i could easily have seen how my life could not in a different direction. >> host: couldn't you have done with my brother michael and your brother james did. they joined the navy so they could divert the draft. did you think about that? >> guest: i thought about that but by that time i was very politicized and i would have felt guilty that i was taking the easy way out. i think i knew that i could have gone into the military and i wouldn't have been sent to the frontline. i might have been sent to vietnam but by that time it was more the symbolism of it. i knew that i did not want to support that war. >> host: zero you know a lot of young people our age, black people our age at that time had difficulty reconciling or not having all the rights that whites had and then serving this country and taking a risk.
mohammed ali. >> guest: if i was going to fight for democracy i would have done it in mississippi and alabama. i didn't have to go 10,000 miles to fight for democracy. >> host: did you ever think about going down there? >> guest: i came very close in the run-up to the mississippi soma project in 1954. i went to new orleans and then met with bob moses and some other people there. i thought very seriously and probably if it hadn't been for the financing of that, that they want people to bring their own money to bail themselves out and other things, and i needed to work. i worked my way through school so i needed a job in order to go and finish college. >> host: talk about that period. you mentioned sncc and dr. king's organization the clc.
what were their respective missions? what was the overall mission of the movement? was it to get a quality is a big word. was it to get voting rights and civil rights and what else did they want? how were the approach is different from each other? >> guest: i think both of them started in terms of the freedom struggle. i think in some ways we mislead ourselves when we use the term civil rights movement because of that had been the gold goal in 1965 the civil rights agenda had been achieved. we had the civil rights act of 1964 in and the voting rights act of 1965 so if that had been the goal martin luther king would have said i'm going to retire and go to a college and be a campus minister. stokely carmichael would have said i have achieved my goal. none of the said that. none of the people that i knew because all the stuff that the goal was much more radical in some ways than that.
get. >> host: why? >> guest: economic change, empowering the black community. that was at the root of the black power movement and black power for black people. using the rights that have been gained to actually bring about concrete changes. i think for many of us we saw 1965 is the beginning, not the end. now we have -- and now the question becomes what he going to do with that? how are you going to -- the black community by that time is 100 years in restrictions and discrimination and you can't just say suddenly they are going to catch up. there has to be a movement and i think as martin luther king says where do we go from here and that is where we still are. we still haven't faced the question of what do we do with
the rights that we gained? now that we are citizens what we do with citizenship? >> host: dr. king and you quoted in your book, you talk about moving from the quicksands of racial injustice to the hard rock of rather had. on that spectrum dr. carson where are we? we have a black man in the white house and michelle alexander who endorsed her book, she is the author of that wonderful book the new jim crow. the statistic she writes about where black people are right now the 21st century. we are underinflated we are unemployed and more affected by aids in obesity and diabetes. we get tougher sentences for the same crimes as white people yet we have a black resident and i'm thinking the black community for me, the silence is deafening. as you said after he got the voting rights we wanted more.
why do you think the black community -- >> guest: you can see the difference between the kind of support that king tut when he was fighting for civil rights. up through 1965 the level of support for king if you look at the polls overwhelming support of the black community and widespread support even among whites for what he was trying to do. if you look at after 65 in chicago when he takes us into vietnam and begins to support garbage workers and poor people and the poor people's campaign which is the first occupy movement. he wanted to bring people and occupy the national mall. even during the occupy campaign in recent years no one put forward something so radical is coming and staying on the national mall so that is what came was about and his support in the black community went down
dramatically. >> host: why? were they afraid it would make why people in great? >> guest: there was a certain element of support for the early qing from black people who are doing well but still faced jim crow. for them once you remove the jim crow barriers, their agenda is gone. then it's just a matter, and in fact at that point they are over qualified. opportunities are going to open up because now they are no longer facing explicitly racial barriers. jobs are opening up. so for them they don't need another one. for the black poor, the movement is just beginning. getting the vote, getting the
right to go into a restaurant and going to a hotel. if you are poor, what if you gained? >> host: but a larger amount of us are still poor and there is the silence. >> guest: well i think one thing that happened before that is people who came out of the middle class saw their responsibility to know and help mobilize those who are poor and destitute. that is what sncc was. the college students, the sons in the grandsons and granddaughters of the black peasants. people like myself. my mother grew up in rural florida and segregated schools. >> host: where was your father from? >> guest: originally from alabama but he was part of that
lack migration that went to detroit in world war i. his father was. >> host: our parents generation chose to show their activism against racism by moving and by migrating and our generation protested. >> guest: that historically for most people who come from the peasant background, the route to freedom was by staging a political movement. it was moving. you move towards a freer environment of the city and move from the south to the north and that is what most people did. in the process of doing that, some of it became politicized. >> host: because they expected things to be markedly different in the north. they didn't think racism was in the north. >> guest: in the north they are not going to be murdered for taking a stand.
and so in the relatively freer environment they are able to really create the conditions for the modern movement. >> host: talk about some of the people of the movement. those in sncc and those nclc and others. who were the people who'd -- was a king, was that nocco max? was that the death of medgar evers? >> guest: all of the above. all of them had different roles. one of the ways in which i try to explain this is rosa parks made martin luther king possible. martin luther king didn't make rosa parks possible. if she hadn't done what she did by refusing to give a per seat on the montgomery bus martin luther king would have simply been an articulate, well meaning baptist minister. it's because of rosa parks that we are talking about him today.
he -- she opened up the possibility for him to display those qualities that he had and to rise to the occasion. >> host: she also said as you well know that while she was sitting on that bus refusing to give seat she was thinking about emmett till begun 14-year-old black boy from chicago who went to mississippi in 1955 and because he looked at a white woman he was brutally murdered. do you think his death changed or sparked anything in the civil rights movement? >> guest: a lot of things did. it was his death and brown versus board of education decision. it was the killing of civil rights workers. it was people like barbara jones, a young high school student who led a walkout at the segregated school protesting against the interior education. that was in 1951.
many people we don't even know their names before rosa parks in montgomery. there were two other teenagers who did the same thing. so this resistance largely among young people. >> host: always a young -- among the young in most societies is that? >> guest: definitely and when we talk about south africa it it was the students in soweto. we all remember nelson mandela but nelson mandela was in a prison cell. it was the students in soweto who revisedrevise, stephen v. who revived the movement in the late 60's. >> host: there was james bevel who, talking about children, the young people leading the way, he did something that got a lot of criticism for him and for dr. king. tell the story.
>> guest: again, came was at a crucial point. we have this mh that millions of people followed him and that's completely wrong. from montgomery which king did not initiate, through birminghaa leader in search of a following. only in birmingham can he initiate and sustain a movement but that reached a crucial point in april of 1963. all the people who were adults willing to get arrested had already been arrested. including king himself. that is when he writes his letter from a birmingham jail. he is at the crucial point where it was not clear that he was going to win at birmingham. when you think about it if he had lost their would have been
no march on washington. there would have been no nobel peace prize. we wouldn't be talking about martin luther king so what saved the day in birmingham was well, there are no adults to be arrested but james bevel and dorothy cotton were saying, there are these young people who are just eager to be arrested. they are eager to join. we have been saying you're too young and you can get involved. at that point they come into the picture and really saved the day for martin luther king. >> host: are there any iconic pictures of that time that spring to mind for you? >> guest: of course. the young people and the dogs in the hoses but his story, one of them that was involved, being in high school and because the teachers and the principles they
knew they had to keep students under control and by that time the students, their resentments were boiling over and is one this one school they locked the gates. they had a fence around it. >> host: to keep the children and? >> guest: to keep them in. >> host: how old were they, what h.? >> guest: this was high school age. at a certain point the students left and pushed the fence down. >> host: they say a child will lead the way. >> guest: and they could not be restrained at that point. that changed the momentum of the birmingham campaign and that became the basis of kennedy introducing the civil rights act and the march on washington, in some ways an extension of what was going on in places like terming him.
>> host: wasn't it after that march dr. carson that the bombing of the church, the four young black girls killed in birmingham alabama? >> guest: yeah and that was a reminder of the sense of triumph at king had after the march on washington. just a few weeks later, going back to birmingham and conducting the funeral. >> host: do you think he felt guilty? >> guest: of course. he felt guilty about all these kids being in jail. he felt guilty about -- you try to explain and i remember listening to one of his speeches and he said now these children are doing what -- they know that they need to do this for future generations and they know and some of their parents i think recognize.
i think my own parents, they didn't want me to. >> host: of course not. >> guest: they brought me to los alamos new mexico so i wouldn't have to deal with that. >> host: you said in your book that you were surprised after the church bombing of the white complacency and why people didn't seem to react to people being brutally murdered and we all see what happened in that tragedy at sandy hook at the sandy hook elementary school and all humanity was touched by that why weren't white people moved by those children being murdered? >> guest: why aren't white people is concerned about the death of black child as they are about the death of a white child? is one of the fundamental issues that we still address is that we have had situations where assault weapons are used on a
weekly basis, monthly basis in the urban areas and the victims are black children. >> host: dr. carson, 500 people in 2012 were murdered, black people were murdered on the south side of chicago and it seemed to matter more that they are killing each other than that their children are dead. it doesn't seem to be the -- even in our community about it. >> guest: that is where we are as a nation. i think most americans, black and white and of all races, we are not the equal nation -- go. >> host: that we say we are. >> guest: but there is still a reluctance to address that issue and understand that part of it comes from, if you put -- 1 of
the problems with school education is white children are in inferior schools, then there is action. and i think that is one of the things about desegregation, that many black parents understand. they get their kids into a school with white kids, they have got leverage. one of the problems with the way in which we went about desegregation is that i agree that we should have had -- that the black kids should have been allowed to go to central high school but that was little rock nine. what about the 900 who were still in the all-black school's? what was being done to make sure that there education is equal? that would have cost a lot of money and would have cost a lot of resources and that is where the nation failed during that time.
yes we need to break down the racial barriers and make it then possible to have an all white school but that still doesn't deal with the problem of what happens to the predominantly black schools. >> host: i was living in boston in the early 70's. some call it forced busing and i collect court-ordered busing. we didn't want her black children to go to school with white kids because we wanted to integrate. just as you said we wanted to go to the schools because the schools were better in the books were better. the teachers were necessarily better but the opportunities were better and it brings me back to my other question of where are we on the quicksand of racial injustice and the hard rock of the weatherhead? not just black people for white people to matt. where we? are we somewhere in the middle? we have a black president. are we almost there? >> guest: i think we need to
do two things. one of them is to celebrate. in a generation of people who bring an end to the jim crow system in the south to legalized segregation and discrimination that existed, the generation that ended colonialism. when i tell my students about colonialism they have to look in their history books to find out. there are a few laughs but about apartheid. and other legalized discrimination, racism. so the victory over white supremacy as a legalized system of oppression, that was a tremendous victory. and the heroic figures of that. during that time that the majority of humanity, it has changed. that has never happened in
history where the majority of people in a relatively short period of time went from being peasants to citizens. but now,. >> host: but 300 years or more of slavery and then they took the slaves away. about 150 years of apartheid here in america of jim crow and we were told to wait and then many black people were told to wait four more years four president obama second term for him to act. women brought their issues to the president and brought their shoes. they wanted of immigration reform and other governments are bringing their issues to our president. what about our issues? martin took his issues -- >> guest: who stopping them? it's one thing to say president obama is not responding. >> host: but what are we doing? >> guest: but what are we doing so that he has to respond
and to me if you are not using that leverage, everyone knows that it's the black vote -- >> host: 93%. >> guest: the latino vote was decisive in the last election, women. each of these groups who played a role in electing him, that is why in my view when i came here for the not gration, i said and the day before the not duration i gave a speech to the morehouse alums who came and i said the important day is not tomorrow. we celebrate then. the important day as the day after tomorrow. what are we going to do them? for a lot of people they went home. >> host: that is true, and celebrated.
it is a milestone. i never thought in my lifetime i would see a black president so it is. we talked a great deal about the movement and we have talked very little bit about you but i think we are getting to to know you and your comments. you added to dr. king's papers. there are several papers here, papers from boston university where you went to school. how are the papers are you it is a different? what did you find? >> guest: the papers i edited, the papers of papers of boston and the papers of atlanta and from so many different places, hundreds of archives around the world. i found king papers in india so we bring them all together and decide how to publish them and make them available to people. that has been my job for the last 25 years. >> host: you lived in this time and you are an historian, your african-american. what really brought you to want to do this? coretta, his widow, asked you
but what was your motivation for wanting to do at? >> guest: i think i didn't want to not do it. i think it was more -- go ahead a lot of doubts when she called because i didn't know that i wanted to devote the rest of my career to doing this. >> host:this. >> host: what did she say to you? how did she ask you? >> guest: she asked whether i would be interested and actually when we first talk in that phonecall i said you know aren't there the people who have done more were? my work was on the grassroots struggle, not so much on kings rule. i never would have written very much about king. a part from the movement. but then she came out and i remember my wife saying, do you want to spend the rest of your career saying you could have been editor of martin luther king's book and he turned it down? i think she was a little bit wiser than i was at that point, recognizing that you don't get asked by the widow of a person
you have admired all your life. >> host: how did she call you? >> guest: another people who are mutual acquaintances. she was looking around for someone to take on this role and they said well there is this at that time young scholar out at stanford and he would do good and he's been written about a movement and about the march so that is what red to the phonecalls. >> host: she had love letters from dr. king. these love letter she had under her bed in her house. >> guest: i heard there were rumors that i could go all over the world as i said to ghana and all these places to try to get material and people were telling me, she has the papers under her bed. in her house.
and so part of what i tell is a gradual process that we are get access to materials. >> host: how did you do at? >> guest: it took time. >> host: and they have worth. she had them in her home. >> guest: that was part of it, that when dexter came and decided -- >> host: now he is the -- the youngest son of dr. king? >> guest: he is the older, the younger son, yeah i'm sorry. >> host: he also has two daughters. >> guest: he is the youngest son and he decided he wanted to bring them all together and put them up for auction and so at that point the question became well, what's going to happen with all the papers in the home? that is when i began to go
through all of these materials. they were extremely rich and they opened up a whole dimension about martin luther king because they had to do with his life as a minister. you could go through that and you could find out what he was thinking about as he was putting together these sermons and what is he reading? his library was there and i would go through the basement and go through all of this materials and i would find handwritten bings. >> host: did he write in longhand? >> guest: many times in longhand and for example i have this longhand, a yellow pad in which you wrote that his draft of his acceptance speech for the nobel peace prize. and when i first saw that it was like my heart stopped because you know first of all the last burdens that touch this was
martin luther king. >> host: how did you see this involve? you talk in the book in "martin's dream" about him being more of a protester. did you see his early philosophy as a theologian? >> guest: yeah. one of the things that set him apart that other people in the movement mobilized people and would go to meetings and organize campaigns of stuff i got. he was not really the best at that. i think what he was best at, one example would be the montgomery bus boycott. the boycott was almost 100% successful before he became the leader of it. but what he did do is after that first successful boycott and they had a mass rally, he was the one who said you know, when the history books of the future are written that they will have to say --
he was the one who recognize the historical importance of what they had done and i'm sure they were looking at it and saying well now we have a one day boycott to not bring about desegregation on the buses but better treatment under segregation. so he is saying no, that's not what it's about. this was a movement that 10 years later people will be writing about and he was right. every american history books now you will see the boycott. >> host: as that young man on the mall when you were 19, and you had your -- and you heard him and there you are this historian some years later and you are reading him, what he wrote in rough draft, what was the picture of him then and how did it change for you when you read those letters? >> guest: i began to recognize
recognize -- there's a chapter in the book about him compiling his autobiography because at that point i'm taking all of the autobiographical records and putting it together in a narrative. the kind of narrative that he would have written at the time. when i went to the march and rep nice to that now i can see that person who i saw from a distanch his eyes because he is describing people like myself who are coming to the march from all different directions and all forms of transportation and these people who are becoming active in this great struggle. so i am seeing my 19-year-old self through the eyes of a person i saw up there. if you can imagine being a 19-year-old kid and a black kid
at that point, even imagining that 12 years later i would be a professor of history at stanford university. in 1963 that would have been inconceivable. that's two decades later i would do getting calls from coretta scott king or that three decades later i would be in designing the king memorial. >> host: before we talk about that there is another question about the papers in the sermon. there was a charter against dr. king. you found some unwanted discoveries. i hate to talk about it but it's an an in full disclosure we have to talk about it. >> guest: one of the things i think is really necessary is to not put him on a pedestal. martin luther king was a flawed individual and i found this out when i was going through his academic papers and finding
plagiarism. >> host: it was alleged but with the in-school? >> guest: he was in college. these were academic papers. it wasn't like he was handing in a paper that he had copied from somebody else. the way i would look at it is if he was taking passages and sometimes letting them accurately sometimes not attributing. >> host: but preachers preach. they preach from the bible and they don't always say isaiah said. >> guest: there are very specific rules about what you can do and what you can't do in one of them is everything that you get from another source you attribute to that source. >> host: we need more time. this is a wonderful book.
your play. you want to do more with dr. king's legacy than just write a book or two papers. you have written a play and passengers -- passages of martin luther king. he took the plate the play to chime in the ticketed palestine. those are amazing places take a play about dr. king who was a protester against government. talk about that. >> guest: i have always been trying to find other ways and have been engaged in documentaries about the movement of dr. king. i worked on the eyes on the prize and other things so i was a colleague of a wonderful playwright. she suggested and she said look i have to create documents by interviewing these people. you have spent your life bringing together all the sources. why not you take this material and transform it into a play?
>> host: a great idea. she is brilliant. yeskel i thought it was a great idea to map. i didn't know how much work i was going to be involved and how difficult it would be but the play was produced at stanford and i worked closely with the person in in the drama department and the drama department put it on the program and we did it. since then i have been tinkering with it and it's been like a hobby. >> host: you have some of that in the book. taking it to china taking it to palestine, how did you write a play, go through all you had to go through three different governments to do and what it and what was the reception and most respected areas? >> guest: in china one of my former students was there so that was the accident. i had visited her and she was fluent in chinese.
she was there for a long period of time and she had seen danny glover before. i had written a script at that time. he read the script and she said well look, why can't we do this in china? it would really be a great impact to bring king. so the national leader of china. >> host: what year is this? >> guest: this was 2007 and we performed it in the theater less than two miles from tiananmen square. >> host: in chinese? >> guest: in chinese. we were performing the birmingham protests with the chinese martin luther king and all of this is taking place before packed audiences within walking distance of tiananmen square.
so translating king's legacy and ringing a gospel choir you know -- and i have actually three of my students were part of that quiet. i called them up and said how would you like to go to china, the national theatre of china? so they have the opportunity to work with the greatest theater company as well as people from other parts of the united states this was the first time african-american performers have performed on the same stage in a play in china. >> host: so you as a historian make history. >> guest: it was historic and then once they did it in china, they said where else? i have gone to the palestinian territories back in the 90s, because the role of nonviolence
there and the need to bring nonviolence into this dispute between the israelis and the palestinians, and i thought why not ring it there? again, this was the palestinian national theatre taking on this play. we took it to a different communities, not just jerusalem but in ramallah and pepper on and all these different places. >> host: what were the reactions of these governments? you are again a protester. >> guest: i didn't ask for permission. >> host: did you have to have the? >> guest: not really. we had a little bit of trouble getting in but once we got into israel and coming through israel into jerusalem, i'm sure they could have shut it down if they
had wanted to. >> host: we hear there is conflict in the word terrorism is always mentioned. they had interest in nonviolence. >> guest: yes and in quoting one of the students who had worked with me and had taken my class and i had taken them to india. a student from ramallah so i had a palestinian student that i take into hindu india to study gandhi and he comes back to his hometown in ramallah and now he is one of the leaders of the non-violent movement on the west bank. >> host: there's so much to talk about. how did it turn out? >> guest: we got arrested of course. but it was a way of challenging the discrimination against the palestinians in a non-violent way.
>> host: there's so much to talk about it and we didn't get to your being on the mall again when the monument was dedicated and he helped design it. did you have anything to do with the drum major conflict? >> guest: i tell the full story about all the good and the bad and dc-8 part of your vision set in stone and you see things that are set in stone that were not part of your vision. >> host: how did you feel when you saw it when you stood there and looked to king, having appointed few of thomas jefferson, what did you feel? >> guest: we wanted him looking directly at thomas jefferson and if you notice in the memorial as was built, he is kind of looking towards reagan airport. >> host: you talked about the conversation they would have had what do you think dr. king would have said would have said to thomas jefferson if they had a conversation? >> guest: he wrote these wonderful words, let's live up
to them. we need as a nation to live up to -- we have justified our dependence on the basis of this declaration that says that all people are created equal and they are endowed with rights. so now we have this obligation as a nation. if we justify our independence we have to live up to it. >> host: his last book was titled where do we go from here and your book, martin's dream is a wonderful dream. i thank you for this book. as you look at it i did something my teachers told me never to do because they are sacred. i dogged some of the pages because i wanted to go back to after carson and reread them. >> guest: there is no greater compliment to an author. >> host: thank you so much for joining me on "after words." good luck with the book. >> guest: thank you.
>> next, and anarchy recorded at university of pennsylvania and philadelphia, transport shares stories about her experiences on the united dates commission on civil rights set up by president eisenhower in 1957. this is about half an hour. >> host: well, on your screen now on booktv is a well-known face for c-span viewers, that is =tranfour, professor at university of pennsylvania and also via her of several books. read the university of pennsylvania to talk to her about this book, "and justice for all: the united states commission on civil rights and the continuing struggle for freedom in america" mary frances berry, when did the u.s. civil
rights commission began? >> guest: the civil rightscivils commission began in 1957.. president eisenhower had a lot f discussions with john fostere dulles, secretary of state about the way the united states was ws seen around the world because of the racism going on, that people hear about and read about. r and the fact that they seem to be a lot of episodes that keptea happening, whether it was lunche named orth discrimination. the idea was he was going to ask congress to set a pace of the rights commission, which would put that on top of the table appeared and told by some at the meeting that he slammed the table and we're going to put the table.n top of the commissions as we know, o sometimes fed up because there'g
tough problem and people don't want to do anything aboutle it.. they do a report and it goes away. this commission was supposed that the facts on top of the table and thenp its future woud depend what it found a come howt aggressive it was than what thet president.s >> host: at this point is a temporarya commission? >> guest: 18 the year before the little rock crisis. there's all kinds of ferment going on in the country andthe eisenhower was to defuse part oe the christ says to present a better image of the country to the world.orl and if on the way they could tew recommend solutions, that would beaey great.lutions, >> host: who made it to commission? >> guest: the idea was to put peopleis on the who would bee oe respected, especially theresptem chairman, someone who eothink ts person is subject to it. they put the president at michigan state university in
east lansing.ent at eas os was made the president noted. theyt: had one black member, kiting bookends who was hssistant secretary of labor. at they thought that he was thethou sort of moderate person.derate%. i read all the white housete hoe files, by the way.n the since i'm an historian i got al. the files from all the presidents, although white house unveiled all that stuff so i caw see what they were saying insight about what they were doing. so the one lone black guy whoanr was an adviser in the eisenhoweo white house, just to tell them tell names to people as they could point to something that would get themo in trouble. he said the spoken sky won't be any trouble. the rest of the folks on their was a professor for notre dame,o an important figure, so it had important people on it. >> host: mary frances berry, when did you serve as chairs the civil rights click
>> guest: i came in 1980 after >> g having served in the carter administration and after having been chancellor of danvers gavef colorado boulder, where people e say itop was the first moment to the head of a research university. in any case, i came and i had id face up ronald reagan because even though i was just a commissioner, i along with one of my latina women, who was theh only other minority in the commission would be sentbe s whenever the commission tried to do something that was terrible. so we had some problems. but i was on the air and i went to arthur's face. finally it was clinton who made me to share thet commission. >> host: president carter appointed you? co >> guest: carter appointed me
in the new department oftion. education.he a web-based teaching and he appointed me to the commission. >> host: up a point did it become clear to be a?ncy d >> guest: after the first year? when the reports they did, what the commission did with that iso sitting down and saying we aref just here. they did some hearings. the nature and power thers the commission has been appointed from the boat and to me is theii most important thing about the commission. but it's supposed to do is go outte and listen to what no onel else will listen to. to civil rights problems people hae that they could not get anyone to pay attention.not jus not just local people, but the federal government.vernm they would write letters, nobody would pay attention. the civil rights people decided they would listen to people and see if they had to say i had th power of the statute to subpoena anyone.
eisenhower said the reason i t nt to get it passed congress e and said it and executive ordery because the attorney general tells me that's the only way they can subpoena anybody.body given that the problems are come to some people may not want to come. so the commission has the most important power subpoena anyone in the south and made recommendations that wereere controversial, they seem to makc sense. so after they've been there fore a while, he was clear theywas needed to beclea reauthorizing o continued on these issues. the whole civil rights movement started to heat up, so it was clear.mmission s then the commission spent the fi next few years figuring out what to recommend to the government to bring to fruition like these people were protesting about in the streets.ds, people wer in other words, people were protesting and going to jail,
but what they did is make recommendations about what legislation would put lake thatt might do something to help alleviate some of these. >> host: professor barry, were all appointed eisenhower?ally >> guest: if they were by him e and confirmed by the senate.ena. this bipartisan. f some of the people wererats and democrats and some republicans.> >> host: any relation to academic roger wilkins said a today?y >> guest: , no, he's relatedkins to another whole family can make your fred rogers related to, roe their family.family. that family is related to professor at harvard.o it's the chicago, illinoisnois republican wilkins has opposed to the democrat lurcher wilkins naacp line. .> host: mary frances berry, ane how did the commission changed in the kennedy
administration cavemen? >> guest: when the kennedy administration came in, i called the chapter something about being with friends, among friends because the commissioners were all saying to themselves, these are good, solid democrats who are liberals and they're going to do everything we say needs to be done. now is the time to get it all done. they did know behind the scenes, bobby kennedy, good body, not the bad body he became later. they think we're going to do this. it wasn't civil rights. the problem is the committees in the congress were controlled by democrats who are from the south and who are racists. thank you slim, mississippi, mcclellan, the people who control the judiciary committee and they control judicial
appointments. so instead of the friendly reception they thought they would get, they would be listened to, but the administration would take their recommendations and try to incorporate them later on in legislation. but until the civil rights movement for asencio, they would just simply be polite and write back and forth to themselves that these people think we're going to do this. we can't do this. so they found out and try to cooperate with the administration. but what they found out was that with the independents put into law when they were set up, which made them an independent voice, was really important and that they shouldn't try to be friendly with them administration. his job was to be a watchdog over what the administration was doing. and they learned that i went kennedy was assassinated and
johnson was a pro-civil rights president because of that and the civil rights movement, they proposed civil rights legislation ever enacted into law. >> host: at what point did you become aware in your life at the civil rights commission? >> guest: i became aware when arsenic graduate program. someone came to me and asked me if i would work on a project they had. theistic advisors. >> 60s, 70s? >> guest: yeah, i then used the reports because the reports they did were very good reports and some of the historical research i did. so i was very much aware of them. finally, by the time roe v. wade was decided, the commission asked me if i would write some name as a history for that and how that all played out and with a history had an odd way back to
england and so on and i did a report for them. >> host: what is your history? per year from? >> guest: i have from nashville, tennessee. throughout the nashville and my family and relatives are still there. i went to pearl high school and i went to howard university and then i went to university of michigan. >> host: law school clinics >> guest: the history department where i got a phd and i went to law school. amnesties you had to get those degrees, but you couldn't get them at the same time. now you can. i had to do one and then i had to do the other. >> host: did you come to graduate school on purpose? >> guest: yes, i cannot purpose, absolutely. i went to segregated schools in nashville growing up. the high schools for north and i went to howard and not make
sense. and i'm about to michigan, arizona the first students he was is black was back in a phd program because when i got there, the head of graduate studies that he was surprised to see me and i found out what that meant. and then he told me, there was one time in the group came through here years ago, but he didn't graduate is what he told me. so i was there in the department. i was sent there by my professors at howard who wanted me to work with a particular professor there and the institution. >> host: mary frances berry, who are your parents? >> guest: my parents were poor folk, who my father left his early. he was one of those lost, stolen or strayed and am a mother raised us. i spent some time in an orphanage and i was financing. that's one of my earliest
memories. and i'm a mother raised us on her own and a very extended family, in which my generation was the first generation to have her go to college. my mother graduated from eighth grade. she was smarter than i am. she wanted to go to high school, but there is no high school to go to at that time. she very rush wanted to get this educated. >> host: windier member been interested in public policy and following this? >> guest: when i started doing medical history at michigan and started leaving the history staff, and addressed during the civil war, from reading the documents i read, all the materials and so on, beaten and legal history in a while, i got
very concerned about how power is exercised and whether there's a voice for people who are not in power. how did the power this gives somebody to listen to them, which is what it is so much about a commission because i was insisting on listening to people. you know when you go to san antonio, texas and it was the first commission on the team as i write about in the book. there's all these latina or nobody's ever to them and their cake out of school with dirty language. education is awful. we listen to them. you go and read about the book who was run over by a car in 1951 -- 1961, and the commission listened to him because he was a korean war veteran.
they share stopped the car, shot him. for no reason at later came out he shot him because he was black and he just wanted to shoot him. but i was paralyzed as a veteran and the va wanted not to give her penchant because he must've been creating trouble, so therefore it was his fault and should get a pension. he asked everybody to help him. all the government agencies, nobody would help them. finally the civil rights commission sent investigators down to find out what was going on and they ended up being able to give him his pension. i told him the story. if it is paralyzed of course, but never told them how this type into the. it is the commission that data, so i think what i was interested and, what i am still interested
in is there has to be some lame to have a voice for people where they can go somewhere and somebody will listen to what they have to say. >> host: had there been efforts over the years by congress or maybe a particular president to disband the commission? >> guest: ronald reagan tried to do that. it always amazes me. reagan has become one of our most beloved presidents. people forget some of the stuff that happened and he wanted to change the direction of civil rights. he wanted to make sure the civil rights laws passed in the 60s weren't enforced the way they were supposed to be enforced. so he decided -- first thing they decided to do is replace all the commissioners because the commission was standing up in watchdogging a ministration, so they said okay, we'll change the numbers and then we got into a big fight because when the copper didn't change me, i sued
them. i won the lawsuit. the court said the commission is supposed to be a watchdog. i used to say he should be a washout and not a lapdog for the frustration. so they succeeded that when changing the direction of the commission. even though we were able to get some traction during my time, things like bush v. gore, going under the 2000 election but the voter suppression, but the commission has never been the same since that time. break-in and a sense succeeded making it a body that couldn't listen to ordinary people are i wouldn't listen to ordinary people and was not independent and they kept trying to feel that they should transition. if it is there going to do that
they have cabinet officers and political appointees all over the government. your job is to monitor them and tell the public what they're doing and make suggestions for how things should be improved. right now in the most recent election, on the voter suppression activity that took place across the country in the whole big debate about it, the civil rights commission should have been at the center of that debate based on its history come can experience of voting and voting and making invasions. it was nowhere to be seen. so it has subverted commission is supposed to have. what needs to happen if the converted by another kind of body or something. >> host: was the current makeup of the u.s. commission? >> guest: but still bipartisan. the commission has eight members. four and four.
no more than for the same political party. what people decided to do is play with that designation. what they want to appoint somebody, they have to change their party. or change something and then they appoint them anyway. but it has become the way the structure is because of our bacon taped to it, it is hard to get a majority to do anything construct is. and the people who are appointed, unlike in the old hvac and 57 and 60 and so on are not supposed to be people objective, independent minded, for home this is not a job and who are widely respected across the country and who will be aggressive and not see themselves as catering to their own political party. >> host: who is the current chair? >> guest: i have no idea. i have no idea who is the chair of the commission. i have no idea what it's doing and i haven't seen anything it's
done. since i left, i had no idea what they're doing. >> host: you left in 2004? >> guest: i left because my term is going to be up in january. since december 2004. when bush got reelected, i didn't see any sense in staying around for that and i was not planning to stay and i didn't want him to appoint me and i'm sure he wouldn't, so that's why that is. post or the president to a point and then the congress -- >> guest: as a result of a president reagan and his proposals and has tried has tried to fire a single in the lawsuit, congress passed a compromise as they do on these things. the compromise extended the commission from six to eight, no more than four. the congress gets to appoint four and there's no
confirmation. the studio had to be confirmed by the senate and they are for the public chance to see who is being appointed and weigh in if they felt like it. now it's just considered to be a patronage position that somebody wants to appoint somebody come as they appoint them. >> host: did you have any relationship with ronald reagan, the republican senator at the time he served? >> guest: jesse helme used to send me birthday cards. he had strom thurmond used to send them all the time. ronald reagan, deal the action i had with him within the senator's thoughts are a congress they are invited me to come in. he seemed like a very affable, personal guy. sunny personality and all the rest, but the least amusing thing for me as he told the
press when he fired me in the press asked him why. a reporter came back and told me she stares at my pleasure and she's not getting any pleasure in the press got a big laugh out of that one. >> host: what was your reaction? >> guest: that was almost as bad as the guy in the bush administration and the justice department supposedly said he liked his coffee like mary frances berry, black and bitter. but reagan was better. i served at his pleasure, not getting him very much pleasure. the court was brought into evidence when i sued right and in the court says, that among other things, the president doesn't fire people in an independent agency who are watchdogging had because they're not giving in pleasure. they're not supposed to be giving him pleasure. this is to monitor what does.
but i found it to be enough of a person can be a nice guy to have a with. >> host: professor berry, of what are you most proud of your service and the u.s. civil rights commission? >> guest: at that you're going to ask me what i was most proud of. a lot of things, that being in the anti-apartheid movement in getting south africa freed. but as far as the commission is concerned, i am proud of the hearings begin in florida on the 2000 election because we heard again from people nobody would listen to and we found out where thousands of people who were registered to vote, who are the co-voters and they just wouldn't let them vote. it's just that simple. i'll never forget the minister who came in and said when he went on to that with his family, and they told him he was a combat talons and he couldn't go. he said that's not true.
only time i've ever been to the court house is on a set or testify for someone in a case they asked me to testify in. he said i voted here in the same precinct last time. so are you telling me i'm a convicted fell in front of his family and friends and neighbors? you said you have to get out of here. turns out he was in a cell in and they had it at the information and purge the voter list and anybody who had a name similar to somebody else's name, they simply said they were felons and there were thousands of people in that position. so i'm very proud of the hearings that we did on that. but you can't and voter suppression by doing that. this time around the commission didn't follow up on what was done before and they still have instances of voter suppression in this country.
>> host: what you do at the university of pennsylvania? >> guest: i teach history of american law. i teach a course to anybody who wants to take it in the history of american law from the english. two after reconstruction and from reconstruction to the president. and i teach a seminar called the history of law and social change about topics i am interested in. it's one of those things we do what i'm interested in. i picked topics that have current peak, but that history and to show how the history and ask the question, and as history any place in policy? of course it does and should have their? this semester we are doing issues like the lgbt rights, education and the whole debate over education reform, whether
it works, students read materials from all sides of these issues and then we discuss and analyze them. >> host: dns washington? >> guest: i miss the little bit of power you have in government office because i matter how small the agency and how miniscule the power, when people have problems, you can sometimes help them. as far as the commission is concerned, and just being able to bring people but no one heard from and no one would listen to and listen to what they have to say. >> host: this is your third, fourth book? >> guest: now. i've written many more books. i've written probably nine or 10 books. >> host: is there another one coming? >> guest: i'm working on one now. >> host: and to top it? >> guest: the topic is, what does it mean -- it is on voter fraud. i found documents from a place
in louisiana of all places where they seem to have a persistent record of voter fraud from an 18th century until now. it's bipartisan, so i was giving similar records from the voter fraud that goes down there that nobody else has. so i have been reading them. this'll be if you want to see voter suppression, here is voter suppression. >> host: when can we expect that book? >> guest: within the next year. >> host: mary frances berry, when you're the term post-racial, what do you think? >> guest: i think somebody is an ada. i think there was a big debate about this by now, with the lack that by the democrats. the idea is that we are beyond noticing the again about issues
of race. i guess that's what that means. obviously we are. there's to many things that happen. even the presence of obama in the white house itself raises racial questions for some people said that while we may be on the way some day to be post-racial, i think it is fair to say that we are not now. >> host: do have a relationship obama? >> guest: not really, no. >> host: "and justice for all," her most recent book, professor at the university of pennsylvania, former chairwoman of the u.s. commission on civil rights. here is a history of the u.s. commission on civil
cane. he was the man in favor of violence. that wasn't the issue. he did support array of self-defense, but he didn't promote aggressive violence. malcolm x said power against power. we are not going to convince the rate segregationists to accept this. we have to build our own forces in till they have no choice but to recognize their demand. and that is power. and he called this black nationalism. he wrote a whole ideology about it. but pride, economies of black communities, the northern ghettos so to speak should be run by blacks instead of absentee owners. so yes, he believes in black
autonomy. he's done integrationist as such. he said is our struggle. >> now on booktv, taylor branch, author of food "america in the king years," and this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> thank you, mr. hill. thank you, atlantic. i've been here before, glad to be back. i'm glad to be back talking about something, a subject that has been dear to me for my whole life and it's inescapable now that i'm getting older but it's my life's work and i'm glad for
it. i am going to take more questions tonight than i normally do. i'm going to say some provocative things about the significant thing about this project is so. it's a little odd to spend 24 years friday may 2300 page trilogy and come out a few years later with 190 page book. a lot of people afraid that the other one think it's probably not true, that somebody else wrote it, but i'm not capable of writing some in this brief. i assure you that i did. there is blood on the floor of my office because it involved eliminating where the setting aside 95% of what i work so hard to produce. in the interest of finding the most salient part in the original language, and 18
moments i thought could reintroduce in a compact forms the major elements, losing large numbers of characters that are dear to me. i am so curious myself to people who have read the whole trilogy. i get those all the time for people who say they read the whole trilogy every year i am grateful for that. that is an amazing things. most books are out of the bookstores in six months or less. these are still around after twentysomething years. but this is a digital age and there's millions of americans who will pick up a storytelling work if it's more than 800 pages long, which menfolk fire. so when my publisher came to me with the challenge to try to have a compact version that would involve making selections,
number one, that new material in a sense that what gives people a sense of the full sweep of an extraordinary transformational era, they accepted it for two reasons. number one, teachers over the years have complained the students rate to storytelling, particularly try to understand race relations, that most of the race relations in the united states' argument in argumentative people just making themselves good while pretending to discover something and taking some morally unassailable point of view and defending it with new labels and new words. we are trained in the west you think analytical words command detail. largely in race relations is
fools gold in the way we've learned is that things are really personal. teachers said students related to the personal stories and ibook but they couldn't find an 800 page book tour high schools to. quite frankly, two years ago, i went for a foundation in new york called the gilder institute which makes american history. he talked to her high school history teachers about teaching american history and particularly civil rights history. i don't know how many of you have gone to idaho, but i went reluctantly because there's basically no black people in idaho and i didn't know anybody would be interested in it. i was thrilled on one hand that they are intensely interested and they said something really
obvious, which is something i always say. they are at a new. this is that race relations. this is about fairness. citizenship, stuff that is really brought here to want to teach this material, but here's the way it is. on sunday night, in idaho, i am cooking dinner for my kid and with one hand i am googling the internet in a desperate hope that i can find something that has been a storytelling at that i can present to make it to the three or four days to communicate the civil rights movement. their arguments with people and none, deliberately trying to make this history and accessible. have i lost my might? i didn't do anything. the gilder institute may not be popular here, but it's a very
good institution. these teachers in idaho said what you don't realize is we are on the low end of the totem pole if you're a history teacher. they are now evaluated by test scores for english and math, not history. if you're a good history teacher , suggesting he might do about teaching bush. because the school is not evaluated on history. without a sense of american history, it's impossible to teach citizenship, which has also been wiped out. so they said, our schools are not told to treat history. it is the essence of citizenship, we are not responsible for their own government and apparently are under public. we're at the low end of the
budget scale at the public high school in idaho because most of the budgetary priority goes to the other subjects. our textbooks are very good to begin with. please do something because it's not just about the storytelling, we can't assign it to our kids and most of our kids are getting the materials anyhow. if there were materials put in a forms we could use, we could bypass the whole text of business and engage and have a good leap forward. it occurred to me that they've been telling me the same thing for years. storytelling is critical in race, but it has to be done in a way that is palatable to the students in the last thing in the world we can do is play and
event for not learn history that does not come through their umbilical cord. if we don't teach it, we cannot blame them for learning. if i believe as they do, and i'm going to explain very briefly why i believe the sense of american history is not easy to get, but vital to have, then it's worth every bit of effort we can make to make it easy for the teachers who are primary conduit. how did our republic at hearing how are we going to preserve and improve their? so, one was teachers. it made me except this challenge from my publisher. the other was a growing sense of frustration and update your 2 cents is that days and then take questions. a frustration that we are fundamentally a balance in our
historical understanding of the last 50 years, that our own conscience determines what we are receptive to to a degree that is much greater than we realize and has blocked a real appreciation for the challenge, the privilege, the uplift, the intimate trouble content of this era has been pigeonholed in so many racetracks to make it less meaningful in their everyday lives across the lines that divide us and should be. so i thought what really got me with the publishers with the idea of condensing the 2300 pages into less than 200 gives it the opportunity that i think are the most salient from the full sweep of the civil rights
era, 54 to 68, the peak years on the brown decision to the death of dr. king as a matter coincidence, the year he took his first church. he was only 39 when he was killed. it exactly matches those 14 years. if i could find 18 moments that communicated the full sweep that he would deserve not only as an introduction to a new generation of young people in the digital age and possibly, i hope, to a heck of a lot of older people who don't really like 800 page book, that some of the people who complained to me about their aching collarbones in various things on airplanes for my book, that they probably didn't finish the book either in a much more likely to get through 190 page
version. in so doing i could concentrate what i think are the essential lesson in a way that would make people begin to come out of this pervasive sense of amnesia or scented perception. but i really call it is failed memory, misremembering, which is part of history and it's a dangerous part of history. so i agreed to do it. it is a novel task to take your own work, redo it so the lessons come out with the stories originally done. it is so novel that they've got this e-book now. they've got a young actor who is on smash commemorating the audio version is the only complete audio version because they only read 10% of them on an abridged
edition. this is the whole thing by leslie out of junior. he did a fabulous job. the really new thing to me is that being said go on with ducks and candles for students. not even have one card and enhanced e-book. i haven't seen this because i don't own a device that would be able -- you have to have an ipaq. i don't have an ipod and i've only seen it on my son's ipaq just briefly. it says there is a demonstration occurring. there will be a little scene saying if you click here you can see in news footage of the demonstration described in the text. on your computer you see a passage about the importance of music in the civil rights
movement. it will sit click here and here. lisa harris said the lead to freedom workshops singing this little light of mine in 1964 and you can click and when you do, you won't forget it and you'll understand the power of that music. or in a passage saying martin luther king called lyndon johnson nervous that the whole line they built was owing to be undermined by the vietnam war and i describe in the conversation and how it happened, you can click and you're martin luther king talked to lyndon johnson on the telephone. this is an enhanced matte -- and enhanced e-book. i have no idea what the market is for. the publisher are hurting us anything about it because they were assembling and there's a lot of panic in the book business these days. but i'm glad they did it.
this is novel. it probably would've taken him an hundred years to get around some famous novelist and enhanced e-book and now they are doing a. i don't now how it will work. tomorrow in baltimore and teaching a seminar built around this short boat. i've taught it before at other schools. i taught at chapel hill, my alma mater last spring. this time is different in two respects. it will be built around the shorter boat was reading to the others, too. i'll have people online from all over the country and even around the world auditing this class for whether or not we can use the same technology that will create an enhanced e-book, that uses technology to invite large numbers of students who take
part in sending questions and question each other and get to know each other. so there are a lot of new items going on about how this is presented. i am struggling to catch up with myself. they instructed me how to tweet and twitter and facebook and all these other things that i can't do because i don't have a ipad. ..
>> january 19, 2013. this very month is full of ethic anniversaries regarding race in american history. it's exactly 150 years ago since the emancipation proclamation by lincoln, which is now popularized in the story of the 13th amendment, just two days later in the spielberg film nominated for the academy award. we are getting aceps of that history. more pert innocent for us, 150,
20 # 13, to get aceps of how tricky this history has been, think about the 50-year app verse ri, 50 years ago, this january, i was getting my driver's license. that was a big deal. martin luther king was resolved to go into birmingham, this month, he decided, and he didn't tell his father or any of the board members because he knew they would try to stop him, and what he said was after eight years. s -- the forces mobilized across the segregated states than the forces of freedom, and we're about to lose a window in history, and if i don't take more risk that i have the way the students take risks because he was unique among civil rights
leaders in saying that the students were ahead of him, being willing to risk more, not a deeper understanding, but willing to accept risks in the sit ins than he was, a reluctant -- he was a reluctant witness, but he knew, he said human nature is stubborn enough there's certain things for which words alone are not powerful enough to change human beings. you have to amplify it with sacrifice and witness, and these young students are pioneers in history and politics. in january 63, he said, i'm going to risk my life, and he skinned this plan to go into birmingham that later had such a big impact on may, and he worked on it, designed it, february, march, wrote the letter from the jail, nobody paid a tinker bit
of attention to it. the letter from birmingham jail was not published anywhere in the united states. it had no effect. he was about to withdraw from birmingham in a failure when he was talked into the grandest risk in politics ever. they said there was junior high school students and elementary school students to demonstrate in birmingham, and there were debates in birmingham whether he lost his sanity. to lose a campaign like this to create tension because he was criticized by everybody, from kennedy on down, up timely, don't pay attention. took the supreme risk allowing children to march, and that's when they unleashed the dogs and fire hoses, the great tipping point psychologically for the united states because until that point, many people,ing inning
myself that segregation is troublesome and wrong and it's somebody else's job to do something about it, but in my case, i'll wait until i'm secure at 30 and do something about it, and i turn around, and there's 8 year old girls marching into dogs and fire hoses in birmingham and that broke the emotional distance that everybody had. that's 1963 #. we are coming up for the next five years on a series of amazing anniversaries from 50 years ago which, in the span of history is but a blink, and what i hope the marchs do is to somehow bring america's appreciation for the meaning of this history for our future, not just for our past, more into aloinment with its true impact
on history, and to help you understand what i mean by this, think of one other thing from exactly 50 years ago this month, january 1953. george wallace took office as governor of alabama in a speech in an inaugural address saying he would defend segregation today, tomorrow, segregation forever. it was in the laws of the southern constitutional states and across the whole country of separation. this was separation strictly by race as to what the segregation was about. young black people couldn't go into the library, and in birmingham you couldn't play checkers with a person of a
different race in public. people went to prison in mississippi for sitting next to someone of a different race. segregation was pervasive beyond what we think, but when you stop and think about it, it was pervasive in a lot of things far beyond racement there were no women at yale. there were no women at the university of california other than nursing students by state law. when i was there, the student body was 95% male. no female students at the university of virginia of any race, no black students either, but no females. most professioning were closed. the idea of women at west point was beyond the imagination of the most visionary liberal. i don't know anybody thinking about it, and the word "gay" was not invented. it was criminal behavior in all the states, and it was known as the pact that dare not speak its
name. there were no is is seat belts e people said that was socialism. [laughter] the shows on the television were sponsored by the major cigarette companies that showed people being healthy, outdoors, and sophisticated smoking. that's 1963, 50 years ago in a blipping. george wallace pledges to defend segregation tfer. of course, he failedded, and when he failedded and the dam broke on segregation on the strength of the witness of those little kids that went to jail in birmingham, it broke not just for block people, but it broke for the disabledded, broke for the elderly, and it broke for women across the span. at that point, almost 2,000
years of jew -- judiac judaism, and never in history a female rabbi or cantor. that was considered a ridiculous notion. well, within just a few short years of the time that the civil rights movement got people struggling over what equal souls and equal votes means, really, down to its core, the first female rabbi was ordained, and now nobody thinks anything of it. there's female rabbis and cantors all over the place. one went on demonstrations, struggling within herself about what racial separation meant and not in the south. what i'm saying is as dr. king said, the freedom deeply beyond
the racial system that was embedded in the united states, and it did that, and all around here, this audience, when i was 16 years old, this audience was what -- the mixed race here, would have had all our palms sweaty because we'd be worried about the ramifications sitting here with the different people. if the clan and police were not after us, we'd be worried somebody would be here, see us here, and report it to our father who might lose his customers because word might get out, and it was always about somebody else. it's never me, but it imprisoned everyone, and in the grand circle of fear, and every breath you take is listed by the fact that that reality is no longer there, but those are the things we take for granted, not only across our racial relations, but in the fact that we are the sun
belt now. we had the sports teams, and as soon as dr. king got the civil rights bill pass, the city of atlanta built a stadium on land it didn't own with money it didn't have for a team it had not located and they got the milwaukee braves to move here and become the first professional sports team in the south. [laughter] dr. king said that when negro, the term then, liberated themselves from segregation because it was right because it went to the core of the constitution and scriptures, it would liberate the white south, and psychologically, economically, and in so many other ways. the question that i want to pose to you is the same question that drove me to say let's -- the
second reason beyond the teachers, let's do this, try to make it salient, to get people to address the question of why is there such a tremendous disconnect between the broad liberation that has been -- that loosed across the land at relatively low cost historically. people suffered and there was martyrs, violence, and psychic damage, but for the amount of social change produced, it was remarkably civilized. it blesses lots and lots of other people, and, yet, in our public discourse today, we still think of our -- of public -- of public interchange -- we have a largely cynical view, the dominant idea of politics in the 50 years has been that government is bad, at least when directed at the purposes towards the civil rights movement.
if i'm right that we're that out of phase, and my ill lotion strags -- two illustration for why it's pervasive. number one, george wallace, any other allies of sub and other areas that we're not looking for them -- we're not looking for the other areas like the immigration agent of 1955 that overturned a century and a half of exclusions for legal imgrants, people eligible for citizenship were strictly, strictly limited to the nations
of northern europe, primarily. done on a racial base. all of asia and africa were excluded, and in 1965 as soon as lyndon johnson got the voting rights through, he went into congress said they are on their backs now, we've got to open up the world, repealed the national origins act, basically a racial hierarchy that resolved immigration for people who become citizens to three countries, repealed that and took place of a first come, first serve system for the whole world for legal immigrants, went to the statue of liberty, signed it, said never let that shadow the gate to freedom. first come, first serve, and unconsciously over not quite 50
years since then, and it's like the united nations, one of the most inspiring things you will ever see. we have korean communities, syria communities, people all over the world whom are americans, no foreigner too foreign to become a fellow citizen. we are not only the pioneer democracy in the world in building our constitution around an idea, but we are the only one that is really followed through on that saying that because of this idea is an idea that we're fellow citizens, and in the laboratory in the experiment of government, that all of us are in this together in the shrinking world, and in the long run, how we relate to korean communities, i understand knee shan communities and all of that is a strength for us. that bill was passed in 1965, and i guarantee you not one person in a hundred who studies the civil rights movements understands that it is a third
pillar with the civil rights act of 64 and the voting rights act of 65 to build a structure that, in the long run, will be a great, not only strength for america, but a great inspiration. not because diversity is nice, but because diversity is essential in a world that's shrinking, and you have to learn how to get along with one another. we are unconscious to a lot of the things that are consequences of the freedoms set in motion by this movement that struggles for eight years like dr. king said saying we're not there yet, we have to take more risks. got to go to jail, and he finally ended segregation, gets the nobel prize, and all the staff says let's have chicken dinners on the nobel prize for 20 years, and he says, no, we have to go to selma next week. he's back in jail, again. the mountain top is nice, but
the valley calls me. that witness, we're all blessed by it, but we're uncshes by it, and the example of it, and the example that i want to give you as to how great i think the disconnect is is that george wallace who made that speech in 196 # could not convince any of the great tides to coming to benefit all of us, if you have a daughter and you want your daughter to have the world open to her, your daughter and hopes are on the shoulders of the civil rights movement. i don'tcare who you are. all of us happen, but george wallace, while he could not prevent it, was a genius in politics in inventing the phrases that are chilling contemporary even today that when it no longer was respectable to defend
segregation, he made it respectable to cut the process and play to the fears and resentments of the process as it was let loose saying pointy headed bureaucrats were telling us how to run our businesses and where we could go to school, and that they were in cahoots with a biased, national media with a racial agenda to help pointy headed liberals and liberals and if that's familiar to you, i submit to you that those phrases were invented by one of the great geniuses in modern politics and con accept traited, and they were george wallace. op top of that, wallace had another part of the genius incesting in public that he had
never made a single comment in the career that reflected poorly on anyone because of race. he would get indignant if you suggested that, and that's part of the formula. a room full of unconscious to the power of race in our society makes us blind slowly, so slowly and pervasively that now it's totally unconscious. they repeat the phrases now because they are normal and they are normal from the right and left. people don't understand how much the left contributed to the same modern sin sitthat doesn't take credit for the sense of capacity we should have that if we could tackle all of those problems in the 60s and let lose this liberation that benefits everyone at such low social costs if we recover the sense of
confidence, commitment, and struggle to reach across the line, the essence of the movement and essence of martin luther king day, get outside the comfort zone, let your knees shake, reach out to somebody across the line and take a chance you can create a movement. that's what a movement is. it starts with something of small inspiration and grows into history when you discover the power between you. george wallace was the op sis of that, take council of your fears, resentment, and, essentially, adopt a cynical and blind attitude towards the possibilities of democracy. cynicism is an appetite, not a judgment. not a measured judgment. democracy requires measured judgment and informed citizens willing to take responsibility. cynicism creates consumers who complain and have low expectations and have a very low
sense of citizenship. in that sense, we're out of phase with what ought to be a great optimistic sense of if we did this in the 60s, we have serious problems with it with an economy that's. stripped of the industrial base facing international competition, environmental problems, justice problems, family problems, all of these, but where's the sense of confidence to tackle them together and that our strength is in the bonds that we create across the lines that divide us, which is what -- that's the essence of patriotism. that's what democracy is and what george washington was doing, and in that sense, that's what martin luther king in the movement were doing. they were confronting systems that denied people their natural strength that benefit everyone, and sub jay gaited people, fitting in motion freedoms that
strengthen everyone and increase the economy and the ties that bind and our comfort to sit here tonight. we need to do it again, and in order to do that, we have to have a better sense of our history because our history is not just about where people sat on busses in a quaint distance era. our history is about our future and what tools we are going to use and what memories we're going to use and what risks we're willing to take to build things, to build strength across lines that divide us. it's not new that we misremember our history where race relations are involved. we should be ashamed of doing it on the left and right that we don't do it, and if you're interested in why, i mentioned george wallace. i can also, the people in the civil rights movement, turned against their own example.
number one, notary public violence was unpopular in the movement. the most powerful idea was the first one that was abandoned, and there's a lot of other religion, the left turned against religion. when it was half of the movement's inspiration and half of the dr. king's magnificent formula of equal souls, equal votes, a foot in the scriptures one foot in the constitution, and the next thing you know, people are turning against the spiritual base of democracy. we misrememberedded the civil war for a century. when i grew up in atlanta; the textbook said it had nothing to do with slavery. we got a lot of sentimental gone with the wind, and to this day, textbooks in history refer to the political movement that overthrew the reconstruction governments after the civil war
and restored white supremacy in the south paving the way for segregation, referred, the textbooks refer to the movement as the redeemers. the redeemers redeemed the south. the religious word that in reality was accomplished by terror. terrorism as much as the terrorism that plaged the world that we're attuned to when it's not among us. it turned race -- race has the power of turning our sense of perception upside down. that's the terrible thing. it also can turn our politics upside down. one of the chapters in the 18 -- two chapters together about 1964 that in 1964, there was a democratic convention and republican convention. the republicans were first. the republicans were the party of lincoln meeting in san fransisco, they normally had over 20% of their delegates,
rough -- not quite 20% were african-american of daddy king's generation, the black and ten republicans. 1964, expelled virtually all of them. they only had 13 delegates. they kicked them all out. barry goldwater met with two lawyers, and anownlsed he was going to vote against the civil rights act of 1964, not for racial reasons but because it was a use of patients states rights. instantly, the southern republican sprang up on ground -- i didn't know republicans growing up. the only republicans were yankees scarce of polar bears other than judges who believed in the two-party system that didn't exist. we had solid south democrats, and the next thing -- there was not one single member from texas, really, from nebraska,
other than george bush the elder to the atlantic ocean, not one, and this in that same year -- but sprang up then, not just to dominate a new republican party, but to dominate the national republican party along the lines of the language that george wallace invented and handed over to them. that same year lyndon johnson met in atlantic city, and the chapter here had secretly, and, to me, it's amazing it is not more news. i've written it detail as i can, he had a nervous break down trying to have delegates from mississippi to have the white democrats who publicly pledged to vote for goldwater. and most switched parties
instantly, but they wanted to feed them anyway, and the mississippi freedom democrats, they walked out because they didn't think it was fair, and carl sanders and one of the conversations you can hear, and they coulded lin don johnson said if you let those two symbolic seats there, the whole south walks out of the convention because you will be turning the democratic party over to the any grows, and letting martin luther king decide who can be a democrat. johnson almost has a breakdown on the phone there and basically went to bed for several days saying i'm going to quitment i can't handle this. i'm trying to turn the democratic party slowly towards a party that will represent the people. he told carl sanders, he said, you and i cannot survive in our modern life, virtual exact quote, you and i cannot survive
in our modern political life eating these folks for breakfast to win elections. we got to let them vote. we got to let them eat. we got to let them shave, and these folks don't do it. he thought he was going to quit. he said i'm no good. if i'm no good in the south, and what good am i? i've passed this bill, and it looks like i can't do anything. what i'm saying is that race without any public acknowledgement, either them or largely in history today, turn the partisan structure of the united states upside down in one summer. it's still that way, and it's still not talked about. what i'm saying is that what i've learned from studying this movement, all this time against my will because its power
dragged me into it, and i'm sure glad it did, is that from frederick douglass to martin luther king to barack obama today, that magnificent progress that's gone forward, we've changed, more accepting, we have a lot more blessings, we have a black man in the white house, but the acceptance in public culture of barack obama by the millions of white people who voted for him is still largely op their terms, not his. it's the people on the other side who were forced to accommodate across the lines, forced always, black folks, had have -- it's not a choice in a luxury to deal with race, including barack obama who can't talk about race now because if he does, the people who votedded for him will find some reason to say he's emphasizing it too much. we're on hooks about it. race is still there. it can pay dividends in the
future. to me, it is vital we get the sense of history in line with what happened so that we can restore our confidence and the capacity of government to move forward, and i'm not saying it's going to be easy, but i think that it's beginning to happen. we got five years of anniversaries of things that are great blessings, not just for black people, but all white americans, and, indeed, for the whole world who are sharing in this democracy if we understand what it is doing, and it is a vital task for us to do it, but it doesn't happen automatically. it begins with every citizen. the great thing about the civil rights movement is that it shows that the promise of democracy comes when you have a morale of citizenry, a movement as it were, not spin, the watch word then was "movement," meaning you were moving somewhere, and the watch word today is "spin," and when that happens, the elected
representatives respond whether they want to or not, and sometimes they inspire you the way they respond, but you need both of those things coming to the, and in order to do that, you have to have a sense of history because that's where our citizen comes, and that's why i'm up here with this short little book, 18 moments, just mentioned one, those two conventions, one little chapter on the two conventions in is the -- 1964, the fulcrum in history. i'll stop. i said he was going to be short, but i was longer than i wanted to be. there's plenty of questions about this because i'm trying to lay it out in a very, very broad scale about a novel experiment to address something that i think is coming up in the next five years. we're either going to come out of the dull drum, out of the unconsciousness trap that we're in. we painted ourselves into a corner such that lots of people
believe that what protects their freedom is the shotgun in their closet, and not the ties that behind us together throws the course of the great rise of american democracy, and it's not true in history, it could be true, and it is important to be vigilant, but it's also important and more important to stretch yourself to understand the true promise of the history because it's not obvious. it's not easy for anybody, and for some of us, we have a proven record of being unconscious to many of the things that are most inspiring. iingi account myself privilege o work on it, i commend it to you, and let me stop there and take questions you may have. thank you to the history center for having me. [applause]
>> curious to get your perspective. one area that has evolved in the civil rights, we have in the last election shown, we've become a majority minority nation. you have a country that's not only do you have different people from different ethnic groups, but blended babies have come to the nation. you have an african-american president. you also have a president who, i think, gave a very good speech yesterday, very optimistic about the future, that touched on this area of looking at our gay brothers and sisters in making sure that she have the same opportunities as everyone else. the younger generation that you're targtsing, this is the world they have grown up in. they have not seen the things of the 60s. whatless sops do you tell the teachers are in your book that you want to transform and give
them that they can take and evolve as good american citizens that you're trying to bring across? >> well, that's a very good question. i think you'll find in the -- that one of the lessons is that there's many different kinds of leadership, as i side, d. king openly confessed at times he was behind the students. he was at two of my -- really, three of my 18 chapters there about bob moses, you know, a lot of people don't know about him, but he's almost a model of whereas dr. king is like moses, you know, the law giver, the follow me, standing up there on top of the mountain, bob moses is the anti-moses, very quiet, mystical, he's the grassroots person, and he basically says we need a lot of leaders, following you, but i'm willing to go to the courthouse even if we are beginning to get beaten and arrested in jail.
there's a lot of kinds of models of leadership. one thing is on its face, young people today need to know that people their age were leaders in serious problems in the 1960s, that the race issue was so great that most adults in that period had opposed that they had it under control, but, really, it was a total fake, and people were fluxed by what to do. if you look a problem in the eye and figuring out whatted to do, most of the adult leadership in the 1960s was looking at it, maybe in the shins. certainly, not in the eyes. these kids were leaders. the fact that you can have kids step forward, you never know where in your life cycle your testing moment is going to be, it's one of many lessons. the first chapter of this booing
, i spent lots and lots of time trying to figure out how to begin, and i began with dr. king's first speech on the monday after the busboy -- buss boycott when he came home said i couldn't eat dinner because i'm head of the protest committee because they didn't expect it to do anything so they would pin it on the young guy in town, and he had to decide what to say, and he couldn't have dinner, walked in there totally unprepared, most of the people are strangers to him. he didn't know them. he was new in the community. he was only 26 years old. you hear him in the speech, and this is what i try to recreate, stumbling around to make a connection to an audience he dupt really know, and when he does make a connection, you can hear it. i mean, i believe if you go to the king cementer and listen to the tape, if they let you do it,
i hope they will because it exists, and you can hear the moment in which strangers responded to the things that he was trying to say in a way that became a wave, and a communion emerged between him that made -- and an audience that med him forever a public person, and it is a movement in the sense of where a movement starts. nobody had sense that was historic and it was going to grow up into the selma march where you felt the voting rights agent being born. that's when a movement is literally historic so i would say the lesson is that young people can be important, that movements are very complex things that involve internal struggle and people arguing and in conflict with themselves in reaching outside themselves over what's really important them, and that the history of the movement shows that adults, too, can change, and that when
they -- i would say robert kennedy is the -- is a primary example of that. he started -- somebody who is not studied today, but if you look at him over the course of his career, what liberated him and turned him from a pretty hard nosed cold war politician was race. somebody who could go in to sharecroppers' shacks in mississippi and sit down with malnourishes bashes on his knee and talk about what they were eating and talk about hunger. that was a transformation, and people can change, and there are many door ways of doing it, but in the u.s. history, the chief doorway for change has been when people go through across the barriers of race, and that's the great lesson of the movement
because good things happen when you do. anybody else? about some of the mismemory of alabama and when george wallace was making those proclamations in 63 down in mobile, alabama, springfield college had been desegregated since 1954, and the change in my life came from that class of 1954. i know i'm telling my age -- [laughter] but when i voted or for the first time i had to pay a poll tax. >> uh-huh. >> somehow i lost that receipt over the years, and that really hurts me, but i think my change came, and, of course, it was the
catholic school, people asked me, how did you feel? i said, well, i feel like any other freshmen going to school. i was more involved in way i was going to wear and what i was going to do, but i remember every african-american who was in my class, and there were not many, you know, let's be honest, and they were hand picked, but the school has grown and so my change started in alabama, and, again, i remember a picture of george wallace on the front cover of the "new yorker" magazine, and he was dressed like the statue of liberty. [laughter] it said, "red necks in new york." [laughter] >> yes, there were plenty of
them. yes. [applause] yes, sir? >> i appreciate your work. it's really wonderful. i'm sad to hear it has to be condensed, but i appreciate you doing that. i want to hear your thoughts, benson harding wrote a book called "king, an inconvenient hero," and i want to hear your thoughts, especially with the mismemory of king and dr. king, they are now full paged ads in the paper on king weekend by the corporations and such. i wonder how much dr. king has been sanitized, how much we need to remember what you've been talk about, and so i'd be interested in hearing what you think dr. king would think of us at this point in where we are and what we do as a culture and where we should go? >> well, let's be realistic. every iconic feature in american history is sanitized. george washington, abe lincoln, all of them are. it's not a crime to sanitize dr. king, but it is -- it -- the
danger is when you -- when people unconsciously sanitize him to make him more comfortable to them, if that's what you want, and i have a lot -- lots of people, everywhere i go say, i can prove from dr. king's "i have a dream" speech that we should not talk about race today, just character, the content of character, and i say that is absolutely right, sir, if you are making the same effort that dr. king made every day of his life to reach across the boundaries that divided people so that he could see character, that he was willing to go into the southern baptist seminary where they voted not to hear his speech and talk to people who loathed him to try to have a message out there and try to get to their character across those lines. if you make those efforts and you're talking about character, you will understand the meaning of race, and you won't need to talk about it so much, but to
say that blindly that i'm only about character, therefore, i don't need to be talking about race, is part of its -- george wallace saying, all my politics don't have anything to do with race. that is just self-perception, and it's dangerous self-perception because over time, people can lose a sense of why they are doing it, so dr. king, i never speak -- try to speak for dr. king, but i tell you, he would say the same thing he always said, which is we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go, and the way to do is consult risks well. that's what he said. he also always said what is democracy but a as a system of votes, and a vote is a little piece of nonviolence, a little piece of nonviolence showing we'll settle things. although, the bedrock announcement or agreement of americans is that people who
can't stand george bush and who can't stand barack obama are going to respect votes enough to allow processes to go forward, and that is nonviolent, and in other countries in the world, including in the ones to be in the headlines yesterday and the ones in the headlines tomorrow, people don't do that, and that's why so much of the world is still in flames. yes, ma'am? >> a stark reality if america doesn't reclaim that sense of history regarding the promise of democracy so if that doesn't happen, what do you foresee in the next several years as a future of america evolves, given the changing demographics, ect.? am i asking the question? >> yes, ma'am. well, if you study history, sometimes it takes catastrophes
to get people to wake up and get a better -- i mean, the civil war is a big a catastrophe you could ask for, and it -- a century of segregation was a catastrophe for black people, but most of the rest of the world was uncashes that was the price we paid for not remembering that history. if we don't rebuild our sense of exe sense and sense of faith in one another, we have any number of problems of poor education, of how to adapt economically in a globally interdependent world that could cause social dislocations in the united states so i hope -- that's the great thing about it. that's one reason we have to be grateful to dr. king and not see him as a leader for black folks, but a leader of fairness and dealing with the most
troublesome problems we have by that method. if we do that, we have a chance to address these problems before they become acute, before they become -- we have terrible social dislocation. yes, i think these are very serious issues. i think the health of a democracy and the capacity of people, it's no joke that we sit around saying we're totally dysfunctional. what i'm hoping is some of that comes out of the culture, and if we're all lulled to sleep in a sense of cynicism about politics and don't see that politics starts with you and me and what we're going to do and who to talk to tomorrow and how far we reach to try to figure out how to address any one of the serious problems that threaten the country, that we can risk that sort of social dislocation that could be catastrophic. i don't care whether you care about the environment or the economy, education, health, our
prison system, our justice system, on and on. we have a large number of -- the energy movement, nongovernmental organization, the public interest movement is wide and diverse that didn't really exist very much 50 years ago. what it doesn't have is a cohesive sense they are working on related problems that ought to create some sort of sense of movement and some sort of sense of that we're indebted to our history if our history were more accurate so, you know, i think that history is about the future, and the future, if the future is dangerous, then it will be less dangerous and more hopeful, the better sense we have of our history, but, you know, i'm a his historian. you expect me to say that. i'm trying to put it in a different way. yes, man? >> i also want to thank you for
the wonderful work that you're doing. i have grandchildren that i definitely want to share it with, but my question is about another age group. as i look around this room, i see a number of white males of a certain age who lived through the times that you're talking about at some level or another. i'm curious to know the response to your work from these men? >> from white male? >> white males primarily or whites of that generation. >> i think the runs who read it and talk to me, it's pretty darn good. [laughter] but i don't know how big a sample that is of the larger population. to some degree, i'm preaching to the choir, but i will say that some of my personally, i mean,
doing this work puts me largely in the black community for the research so the time that i interact with white people the most about it is when the books are out, and i will say that, i mean, not exclusively, the young man because this is a cross cultural history, and i don't, you know, i had to interview as many people in lyndon johnson's administration as i did around martin luter king, but when the books come out and i try to talk to people, anybody's who has read it, my most inspiration responses have been from older white men. more from -- i mean, women are better, quite frankly. [laughter] [applause] when you get something from a white man, for that reason, all the more, it's really quite
something. the movement was basically run by women as long as there was not a microphone, and that's just a truism of history, and to some degree it's still true. i don't know how that will survive the digital age when men can do a lot of stuff with their computer and they don't have to go out and set the table. yes, sir? >> you're about to hear something from a white man. [laughter] ma'am, before you leave -- [laughter] before you leave, please come down here. [laughter] i would like to answer your question because i was a young man in my 30s during the civil rights movement. one of the most shameful things that i feel is that i kept my
mouth shut. i think i'm not unique in this group. there was an intellectual debate that went on discussing america and the issue of property rights versus civil rights, and it was a heated debate. our -- within -- among my friends. i wanted you it know that i'm ashamed. [applause] thank you, sir, thank you. two questions rolled into one. thanks for your talk today.
it's opened my mind in a number of ways as a teacher and his tore -- historian. on the one hand, you talk about the unconsciousness -- i loved that -- and the mismemory, and it begs the idea of w. debois talking about raise as the challenge for the 20th century. i'd like you to reflect on what your theme has been today and debois and the idea of race in the 21st century, and then my second question is, has to do more with your book, the 18 chapters, how did you get to that, just say 18, or eventually, it came out to be 18 because you referred to that, and i see it's in the book. >> to answer the second part first, no, i didn't have 18 in mind. i wanted to pick out and i
wanted to pick out the ones that i thought were essential to communicate the sweep of it, not all the particulars, and, please, somebody said, you know, i'm sorry you had to distill or abbreviate or make it compact. the other books are not going anywhere. [laughter] they are still there. [laughter] i'm hoping that as leet some small portion of the people who are introduced to the subject will want to know more about it, and go not just to my books, but there's lots and lots of book, and the ones that are cited, it's a whole universe, largely uncovered by hollywood, by the way, part of that and because hollywood and i know this from 25 bitter years trying to get any of these stories made into film, they want to show -- they're afraid of showing anything that will make viewers doubt they are on the right
side, and, therefore, they can't show the people in the movement themselves in conflict, and that's what's real, and so they don't do it, and so these things, these things are really hard, but i took -- i wound up with 18 simply because that was -- that was the stand from -- and as i said, i would say martin lute i -- luther king, the first and last chapter about him being killed, but the 16 in between, maybe half of them, are mostly about king and others about other people. the freedom ride, the freedom ride is the only event that has two chapters, and i think that it's that significant because the freedom ride, a movement starts small, starts in somebody's small inspiration and grows in scope and definition, but mostly in the identity and the way people think of themselves. the freedom rides were young
people literally expanding the scope of a movement from something that was campus based and where everybody tholes it was something they did while they got their degrees, and by the end, it was people said, this is what i do, and i'm involved and anybody in the united states who went on the freedom rides and came into jail, and i'm willing to go anywhere to work on it, so in so many respects, it expanded so i have two stories about the freedom ride starring diane nash, by and large, probably thee most overlooked central figure in that period. it came out -- it came out that the stories turned out to be 18, and when i did it, i felt i could boil down the gist of it to give people a sense of it in the number of -- i really had more of a sense of pages. you cannot do this 800 -- you
can't do it 400, let's see if you can do it in, you know, under 3 # 00, and i -- i'm very proud of this, i did it in under 200. [laughter] [applause] i wanted to go the extra mile on the chance that what i'm hoping is to have people say, wow, we are so out of phase, this ought to make us feel good about what we can do. why is this that we don't, and that our politics is paralyzed and that we don't talk more about race? that's how it -- i forgot what you said at the beginning. [laughter] >> debois. >> debois, the prob of the century is the color line. it didn't go away, just like my three books didn't go away, but i don't think it's as central. when he spoke, remember, the world was still colonized.
most of the world was colonized at that time, and it was literally owned by the european nations, and our claim to fame was we didn't want an empire, but we were growing into a super power, and in some senses, we got a pass, and in that sense, it really did make race through coal imization, and race, because of segregation in the united states and the legacy of slavery, a global problem. we are still dealing -- there's a lot of truth in the person, the wag who said that the world is still paying in tear -- terror and pain and dislocation today for any place in the world that a british or french diplomat drew a line on a map at the end of the 19th century, whether it was creating a rock or creating syria or creating all the nations that are africa,
that we're still paying a price for that. there's a lot of race involved in that, but there's also globalization and there's religion and economics coming together to complicate it, but race, if you're talking about the divisions that caused people to start thinking like enemies, it's still very much with us. [applause] >> thank you very much. [applause] >> i want to thank taylor branch for being with us tonight. he'll be signing books in the library. i want to thank the livingston foundation for sponsoring the lecture, and if anybody in california is listening, send the man an ipad. he could really use one. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause]
glmplets for more information, visit the author's website at taylorbranch.com. >> i'm sure you're more or less familiar with malcolm x, movie about him and postage stamps, and at the time, he was counter posed the king. he was supposedly the man in favor of, quote, violation. that was not the issue. he did support the right of armedded self-defense, but he didn't promote aggressive violence. malcolm x said power against power. we're not going to convince the white segregationists to accept us. we have to build our own forces until they have no choice but to recognize our demands, and that's power. he called this black nationalism. he built a whole ideology about it. black nationalism meant black
pride. it meant economies of black communities, the northern ghettos so to speak, should be run by blacks instead of absentee white owners. he believed in community of control of schools, so, yes, he believes in black o tonmy, not an integrationist as such saying it's up to us. it's our struggle. >> university of michigan professor howard brick is on american history tv this weekend on c-span3. ..
did the high commissioner of the un agency in new and social council in new york and part of the woodrow wilson school and a variety of other things including more than 30 unstable places a and now was confirmed as the head of the new state department of your for conflict of stable organization. it is a new initiative in the old bureaucracy and has one of the most challenging job descriptions i have seen to u.s. government effectiveness was erecting crises. [laughter] ambassador barton? >> thank you for the introduction and everybody
of the eternal challenges better at the top of my mind this first year and some of the challenges that i think direct the countries that are working and not dwell on the changes they made at the bureau because there was a bit of a merger so it was news to come back this year and i probably will not give as many examples i am sure each of you will come back to those as well. the in terms of the internal needs, there is a very vague
map of opportunity out there. with the senior staff meeting that we have on monday mornings, secretary carry finish the meeting by basically saying there are more failed states, still more failing, not fewer. debt that falls into our basket of opportunity. the way to start is the internal needs because you worked in this space before. but more focus is required. the united states cannot do
everything everywhere but to spend $3 million or 3 trillion we found we were lacking focus. to find ambassadors and embassies eager to take on these challenges to make a difference. syria, a kenya of two elections and burma and in particular honduras. we have not neglected the rest of the rope 80 percent of the effort is there. but we still need a center of gravity who is driving the policy, the who is not
just convening meetings for the u.s. government but with a the early stage of the process with the analysis with those elements at play. but the third point* we need improvements is the zero / 365-- period. that to take the right step in the right direction the venture capital moment still have been excessively bureaucratic process i had a
fellow assistant secretary of state say we will be there in the year. but with the internal needs the two halves of conflict experts there is a natural tendency in one of the most prominent ambassadors for the middle east said i worked at the bureau's 25 years and never had a single change of government. sewed dramatic changes and i need your help. working from that side of the issue that is continued to be built upon.
the speed with which things happen is a challenge. and then like to spent the last part on the in country places. but to understand the context in the case much better we have to be much more objective. to send up the refugee bureau with a counterterrorism bureau the respondents would be there happens to be a problem with terrorism. the broader context is where we have to start. many of the ways we have gotten stuck we really have not had the agreement says
you have the splendor of the u.s. government the guy looks great and can play the keyboard but in the end you have not necessarily decided the most. it starts with a joint independent analysis and settle some priorities. i think they better get right or will not make much progress. the second thing i would like to suggest is for what we call silence majority. in almost every case they don't like the existing
regime or the opposition. says you could say it is to cut a political but pick a fine large examples of women and use and those that are politically underserved and eager to have a greater influence. the business community false in that category as well within on political. sir, we need to go local from the front and. in every the the country we have local initiatives likely not to succeed better worth the blind negative worthy that we probably can sustainer understand months
what is going on and what forces us to be catalytic captures local talent to make a sustainable, but we talk about for years and we still don't produce it 10 or 15 internationals even the best in the new job it takes months maybe it should be more complicated. common sense could head in this direction. and every one of the case says help is needed but almost every case they don't want us to take over. so with what fits we should be much more respectful that it is not ours to own we
have not found it to be a happy experience. these are the rules we are refining through the first year i am more than happy to talk about ways we approach from each case but since many of your practitioners i thought some of these may fit with your own findings. you're asking me if i am having fun, first, it is an unbelievable privilege and it is starting to be fun. [laughter] i am looking forward to the conversation. >> thank your ambassador. i assistant secretary. i do want to stir the general question, in selecting the four cases
refocus 80 percent of your energy, is this a science or in art? a systemic approach argues see what you can do individually? >> it is both. the results are process of considerable consultation of people at the lighthouse, the bureau's come and making sure there is an ambassador there who feels they need help and there is an internal game and we follow the blocks. we want to be in places that matter to the u.s. hamas the right moment is the moment due to a cold and then there is something we could do. there's the criteria.
a tawdry and up in syria rather than each of durian in or libya of our on the table at the same time one year ago? >> yemen was easy as may may all get killed or not get out of the embassy saw that was not a dynamic opportunity. egypt was a huge ongoing operation and to take a review of the portfolio it would be hard to figure how to have been influenced in libya already had an international flair also syria between the location of syria -- turkey and israel there was the unpredictability of conflict
how long could it go and how long would you have to wait but with syria the united states government's role role, wasn't very great. the embassy had not had a chance to get to know the opposition and where the energy was in the whole revolutionary process. the training me did of nonlethal assistance has allowed us to broaden the u.s. knowledge of what is going on in syria and you're getting closer to the circumstance with a highly decentralized results of conflict then you really do want to know you don't just
walk down the main street of damascus in this is the foundation building that you have to undertake. >> tell us something more specific how you do that. you have a team of 200 is there a team on the ground? >> syria is a good challenge. you have to work at of a third country that had distinct feeling is in cited syria so we worked exclusively in turkey and now we start to work in jordan as well. that the internal
bureaucratic surtout important but different sets of ambassadors so i don't want to overstate the sensitivity with that is part of what we have to do. the answer is yes. the what concerns me they all had to come across the border to provide equipment but also of training sessions but we still have a lot more work to do to know the ones that we do know much better. for example, if you do the setting exercise at -- as they say they are friends of ours that doesn't tell you
how capable they are. >> i believe you will be going to burma. what do hope to do down there? >> u.s. policy that seems like a good place to start rethink u.s. policy is clear to open the place up to deal with the longstanding ethnic disputes and we want to do business. the second is the most delicate. >> what can you do? >> has been sensitive they move quite nicely on their own with the first and third targets and this is the one that is the most uncomfortable. we try to find a subject matter to bring dialogue
between the parties we settled on land mines because neither side likes landmines. plenty are out there. to of the most conflicted areas we work with both parties to locally bring them together around a subject of land mines. thinking and discussion will follow. >> host: can you give us thoughts on afghanistan with corruption or violence. are you involved? >> the largest operation was afghanistan but we have reduced it dramatically. had 30 and now we're at four. partially we thought the withdrawal, a debt
transition was the largest issue and we should probably do our part to give out as well as we could so of people are working on the transition plan so it is on the next up. i just had a conversation with somebody who said what you are doing from the kidney elections may be afghanistan elections. >> what you doing with the kenya elections? [laughter] >> four years ago kenya live up as a result of the political leadership stoking the public and used to the point* where several people died several thousands left their homes and it got out
of control. that is the focus of what we're doing to help us drive attention to election related violence because of it happens again it would be by far the worst thing to happen to kenya. what could you possibly do? a great deal of attention provided by other international partners to the logistics. it is flattering and a bit of an industry. even though almost every election has delays so we felt the greater problem was who would check it?
with a period the amazing reform right now with a the constitution and the commission it is almost over reformed almost too much for the body to absorbent the same time. know we had to make an assumption the police probably would not be in shape to do what they would hope to do and believe bring that point* we did not think was smart to use an amazing network that the state department and others already got under way for fighting aids, a horticulture programs, initiatives. have the you take that political mass of people in
the engage them in the election related process? at death valley rather than have each of them tell us the wonder what worries you most about your country this year? election related violence. you doing as much as you could be doing to combat that? >> no. would you like to be more in gauge? yes. is anything that could be helpful with an early-warning system to make the police more capable? the first person to speak was the man running for the horticulture program who said i only have 4,000 kenyans in this area for my program. so the next person to speak
said we have several hundred thousand households we visited in this region every week. okay, what would it take to bring your assets to this charge? they already have the sup initiative to have tens of thousands of youths engaged to have thousands of refugees in they were already involved. is a question had to bring the kenyans to the next level? we need to come together right away and if you get the local kenyan staff we will continue doing day jobs
but it was started in the of valley we're still worried like in the slums of nairobi but it will make a difference and at the very, very based thousands of kenyans who are more involved in the political process that would have been spectators and now are participants. that could only help. that was a long answer. >> i will open the floor to questions. and keep your questions friendly. [laughter] >> focus n not jumping with both feet to spend
3 trillion yuan let get it but when there you done? what about kenya or lebanon? [inaudible] >> think you're i have enjoyed your work over the years. i hope there was no sarcasm in your comment. it a case like kenya we're done a month after but idle believe in every case it is that clean and simple we
will likely be involved maybe six months after the change of regime that we will get things started to create the opportunity to fit into other opportunities that the international community see in this place there are certain elements that are already finished looking for the year where june -- emergency prosecution's with the loss of government control and confidence but they were tied to the highest homicide rate of the nonpublic sown in the world. we did not give them initially which it's helpful to bring prosecutors they
did not have enough in place but that part has ended. to bring nine and a national tax on the business community to make the country safer. something that took considerable legislative action to be implemented well but is not that great how you build success that of an idea that may or may not work? please save between zero and one year because that is the biggest window. that is not over populated by u.s. capacity your capability, but it is not religious we can extend it six months or one year as needed but it should makes